Devotional Thought of the Day:
Before you knew God, you were slaves of gods that are not real. 9 But now you know God, or better still, God knows you. Galatians 4:8-9 CEV
We will, we choose, we create the moral ignorance in our souls, the ignorance that Plato saw as a prerequisite to doing evil. We voluntarily turn off the light of truth. For instance, we shut out the divine truth and justice of “thou shalt not steal” before we sin by stealing. The ignorance of the thief—by which he thinks that filling his pockets with stolen money will make him happier than filling his soul with proper virtue—is indeed, as Plato saw, a prerequisite for his act of theft.
2157 The Christian begins his day, his prayers, and his activities with the Sign of the Cross: “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” The baptized person dedicates the day to the glory of God and calls on the Savior’s grace which lets him act in the Spirit as a child of the Father. The sign of the cross strengthens us in temptations and difficulties.
The law has been given to men for three reasons: (1) to maintain external discipline against unruly and disobedient men, (2) to lead men to a knowledge of their sin, (3) after they are reborn, and although the flesh still inheres in them, to give them on that account a definite rule according to which they should pattern and regulate their entire life.
Peter Kreeft’s words above are truer than we want to admit.
We too often set aside God’s truth, shutting it out, so we can serve gods that are not real. One of them is the pursuit of happiness at any cost. Most of our sins will fall into that category. One example, choosing to sleep in, because that will make our day go better, rather than getting up and praying before all else. Or if it is Sunday, getting up and going or participating online in a church service. Kreeft’s thief is another example. A third, the man or woman who would commit adultery either in deed or just in thought, because the sex might be better than it is with their partner.
Sin sets aside our God-given identity, choosing to be ignorant of who we are.
The law confronts that worshiping non-existent gods, including the god of happiness, for sure. But it is often missed in the Christian. Rather than using it to establish the pattern of our lives, and to regulate that, we try to use it to externally discipline each other. We are great at pointing out others’ failures, others’ sins, but not so great at truly addressing our own. When we do, we usually beat ourselves up, fall into depression, and do not really change anything.
I find the key to this, when I remember it, in the words of the Apostle Paul. The part where he says what is better still. God knows you!
God knows you.
He cares for you.
God loves you!
That challenge is convincing you of that.
You see, before you knew God before you were united with Jesus, you were someone different. But that all changed when God came to you and baptized you, joining you to Jesus in His death and resurrection. (See Col. 2) We need to know that we need to stop setting it aside for this sin or that one. We need to celebrate that salvation with joy, recognizing who we are because of it.
The children God loves.
That is why Lutherans and Catholics and Orthodox make the sign of the cross when we pray, or when they start the day. The reason should be to remember the cross, to remember that they were saved there, as Jesus hung there and died…and with Him, they died to rise to a new life. It needs to be done, (and I will admit it is not… often) with reverential thought, remembering our identity that was established there.
Remembering, we are defined by this very thought. God knows us.
Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 65.
Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed. (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997)521.
Theodore G. Tappert, ed., The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959), 479–480.